December 31, 2012

{While Everyone Is Looking}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
I thought you would enjoy this reprint of my article in the Winter 2012 issue of SEASON Magazine. (Once online, click the cover image and scroll to page 86.) Or just enjoy below!   
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
I remember as a young associate editor at Vogue magazine in the early 1970s when fashion director Polly Mellen—famous for starting international style trends—told me she wore black to a friend’s wedding. Once I caught my breath I responded: “I don’t think it’s a trend that’ll catch on!”There was a time—hard to believe now with the ubiquitous black bridesmaid dresses—that wearing black to a wedding (as a guest or bridal attendant) was unheard of since black had long been considered the color of mourning in our culture.  
I may have been wrong about the future popularity of wearing black to weddings and perhaps a bit old-fashioned in this anything goes modern world, but sometimes what’s “appropriate” is also what’s most“attractive.” And maybe I’m stepping on toes here, but black is not a color that looks good on everybody, it doesn’t photograph well (haven’t you seen photographs of bridal attendants where it’s mostly a black blob?) and it’s just not a happy color! (Aren’t weddings about celebration?)
Another wedding fashion trend not on my favorites list is the obsession for strapless gowns. (Although I believe when a “trend” lasts longer than most marriages, it becomes a “classic” whether we like it or not!) I understand the strapless appeal in our over-sized, over-casual, over-sexy world: without shoulders and sleeves, it can be an easy fit for all sizes, comfortable to move around in and yes, even glamorous—d├ęcolletage is in!

However, in an effort to save us from ourselves, I’ve written articles and blog posts for many years with titles like “Consider Not Wearing a Strapless Dress, Unless…” explaining how when you move, your strapless gown doesn’t necessarily move with you, nor does it camouflage anything and it exposes much more than you ever imagined. But it’s not even the underarms, the explosion of breasts or having to stare at bare backs during the wedding service; it’s that ugly “tug.”

I’ve seen brides and bridesmaids—who have great poise otherwise and look good in their strapless gown (from most angles)—do that awkwardly unattractive underarm “yank and tug” like they’re in the privacy of the ladies’ room instead of while everyone’s actually looking on! I understand that the gown feels like it’s falling off, but if brides don’t want their wedding remembered for such “oops” moments, then maybe every strapless gown should come with a must-read “code of conduct” before wearing.

(Although there was no correlation in the strapless trend and the closing of my bridal art-to-wear shop in Atlanta at the end of 1999, but my designers did vow to strike if they had to make one more strapless gown!)
All that said, every generation has their share of “How could I have done that?” kind of trends. Maybe it’ll be okay if we make choices as best we can and just hope there’s no cell phone camera around at those awkward moments when we assume no one is looking! (And with the high divorce rate, you think it’s true all that black worn at weddings does indeed deliver ominous wishes for the bride and groom?) Even more than ever, it’s a brave new world! ~
[Definitely no "ugly tugs" seen in above beautiful photographs by J Nichols Photo]

December 5, 2012

{Weddings from a Simpler Time}

Dear Bride-To-Be:
There is no formula to have a beautifully intimate wedding. When love has infused all the wedding plans, a large grand cathedral setting can feel as intimate as a tiny chapel or an outdoor gathering celebrated under old oak trees!
One of the "blessings" after the economic shifts the last few years is that I've attended more thoughtfully planned weddings where intimacy wasn't sacrificed for extravagance...where realness and elegance were both present. (Does the lack of unlimited budgets—or perhaps more accurately, the lack of unlimited credit—pare down even “high end” weddings as well help restore intimacy to all ceremonies? Perhaps economic restraint begets thoughtful conversations when it comes to planning a wedding! Hmmmmmm.)
I've always loved weddings that use the beauty of nature and it seems "simplicity" and "natural" and "authentic" are words that are now considered very chic and stylish for weddings. There is a refreshing return to "vintage-inspired, rustic and whimsical weddings that go for charm instead of glitz," wrote Whitney Friedlander for the LA Times. [See her article featuring a wedding set in a National Forest.]
And of course Martha Stewart and her editors are famous for sharing glorious outdoor wedding ceremonies that are full of nature's beauty and spontaneous intimacy. [See their coverage of this wedding in the Italian countryside.]
The appealing Green Wedding Shoes blog is clever at finding naturally inspired weddings bursting with whimsy and enchantment—and lots of love! [See more about this wedding at an Herb Farm on Long Island.]

Whatever kind of wedding you are planning or dreaming about, look within, open your heart, and connect to everyone with love. (Yes, even grumpy Aunt Harriet and the caterer who was always late for appointments!) Then intimacy will come naturally to your wedding wherever you gather.

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

November 9, 2012

{Wedding Fashion Advice}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
No matter what kind of wedding you're planning, you want to look beautiful in your wedding gown and you want everyone else to look and feel fabulous in their "wedding best"! Yes?

Here are some great "Wedding Fashion" tips from the Martha Stewart editors about decisions to make before and after the ceremony. Click the link below for answers to questions like "Do I need a wedding purse?" or "Should I buy a sample-sale gown?" or "How to clean a vintage veil?" as well as "What should the mother-of-the-groom wear?" ... plus many more ideas!
Martha Stewart's Wedding Fashion Advice for Women

The editors also offer informative style pointers for men. From ideas about "3-Piece Suits" to "Cufflinks, Watches and Shoes" to "Formal Attire Choices" -- who else could explain these things with such panache? Click the link below for some stylish thoughts!
Martha Stewart's Wedding Style Guide for Men

Okay ... one more Fashion Tip! This one links to an article I wrote several years ago for my online magazine, Weddings of Grace, and it's even more current today: Don't Wear a Strapless Dress, Unless...  You'll find ideas you probably haven't thought of, even more things that you're in denial about, and all of them will help you make a more beautiful choice for your beautiful self! (Sometimes to look our best, we need to hear what "not to do" before we make our decision about "I Do!")

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Photographs from Martha Stewart]

September 3, 2012

{A Girl-Chat Reminder}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
At a recent series of book signings for The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself, I had some lovely chats with visitors at my table—where there was a basket of pretty vintage linen handkerchiefs with other bridal accessories I had for sale. And so many times the chats turned to why a bride needs a handkerchief!

Therefore in the spirit of a friendly woman-to-woman reminder, I thought I’d share one of the dozens of RitualWise Bridal Notes included in my book:
Let’s have a serious girl-to-girl chat! As modern and savvy as you are, you know that sometimes “old-fashioned” is the way to go. So be sure to have a “serviceable” handkerchief with you during your wedding ceremony.  
It’s perhaps the most sensible and practical thing you can do on your wedding day: for tears, a runny nose, damp palms, or for dabbing his moist brow.
Trust me…don’t go down the aisle without one! 
In the days when I had my designer bridal store (where I always kept a stock of “best-selling” pretty vintage handkerchiefs), I went to hundreds of weddings. And the most frequent “mistake” I saw was a bride at the altar without something to discreetly take care of a runny nose. (And you don’t need an “extra hand” for your hankie. Just tuck it into your palm for easiest access.)
 Part of our “feminine smarts” is to be able to take care of the little things gracefully and the big things with even more grace and favor. These practical—and sometimes old-fashioned—things (like having a “serviceable” hankie) can add ease and comfort to nervous times…and make a beautiful bride even more beautiful.
And for more of these girl-chat reminders, you may just need to get your own copy of The Brides Ritual Guide—because who else is going to tell you these things?

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

ps: The Brides Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself became an Amazon bestseller when it was released almost three years ago so I hope the word is spreading about the need for brides to carry a hankie down the aisle—plus other fem-fem tricks of the bridal trade! Click here to order an autographed copy or two of the book—one for you and one for anyone who loves stories from the heart—and receive some free gifts as well.

pps: I’m continuing my sabbatical from weekly updates to the LETTERS TO A BRIDE blog so I can finish my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress, for release next year.

I hope you enjoy the autumn season wherever you are and whatever life-changing adventure you are up to...and I will stay at work in my mountain writing loft with “the princess”!!

[Photograph courtesy of North Carolina Dream Weddings.]

June 15, 2012

{Brides & Flowers}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
When I think of summertime, I think of flowers. And when I think of weddings, I picture a bride with a beautiful bouquet. Flowers just speak a language of beauty and intimacy and, well, love!

Brides and the language of flowers have a romantic and mystical history. Through the ages romantics assigned meaning to flowers and herbs according to their innate nature—and a language was created!

Bridal folklore tells of maidens entwining creamy white, aromatic orange blossoms into a bridal wreath for their hair, to ensure fertility; or carrying a bunch of sweet smelling white lilacs, representing innocence; or tucking fragrant herbs into their bouquets, rosemary for remembrance and dill, believed to provoke lust. (And both herbs were often eaten for their supposed powers!)

The Victorians of the 19th century had a custom of arranging a bouquet of flowers and herbs “to spell out the groom’s name (baby’s breath, irises, limonium, and lilies for B-I-L-L.”)

Queen Victoria carried a nosegay of snowdrops, representing friendship (they were her beloved Albert’s favorite flower); and Grace Kelly, after much thought, selected lilies-of-the-valley for her wedding bouquet, one of the many delicate flowers meaning purity. For her royal wedding bouquet, Kate Middleton chose flowers expressing what she held dear, including sprigs of "Sweet William" that just happened to symbolize gallantry!

Whatever flowers you choose for your wedding, let them be an expression of your heart and a reminder for you to speak the language of love every day!

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

ps: I hope everyone has a beautiful summer! I'm still working on the rewrite of my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride...intending for a release later this year! AND if you don't have a copy of my Amazon bestselling book, The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself, then now is a great time to order because you get 3 free gifts along with the book reviewers call "the perfect gift for every bride's heart." Enjoy...

April 2, 2012

{Springtime Inspiration}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
From ancient goddess folklore comes the story of Brigit -- also known as Bride in the Gaelic form -- who was considered the maiden goddess of springtime. Doesn't it makes perfect sense that an origin of our bridal traditions comes from the essence of spring: an abundant, life-giving time of renewal and beauty? And it's a glorious season to have a wedding!

If you are a bride during this new growth, shades-of-green season, then your inspirations come touched with goddess magic and love.

And as I continue my blog sabbatical to focus on finishing my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride, I call on this womanly, goddess-like support and beautiful, renewing energy of springtime as well...and I use deep, easy breaths to help my work, well, bloom!

Give it try: Take a deep, slow breath...then another 'n another...and feel the ease and comfort it brings. Whenever you are having your wedding, the pleasure of it all increases if you slow down, find some quiet time, and take luscious, easy, deep breaths and enjoy the beauty of the season...and you'll be more present for your wedding.

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

ps: While I continue to work on my new book, I'd love for you to take a look at my other book, The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself. Brides of all ages and "seasons" have enjoyed its stories and message ever since Amazon released it to best seller reviews! Women say they learn things they never knew about weddings, being a bride, and how to enjoy the experience even more. And when you order the book using these links, you'll receive free gifts: two relaxation CDs and a vintage six-pence to bring abundance! Ahhhh...the gifts of springtime!

pps: I'll keep you posted on the progress of The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride...its release planned for later this year!

[Photograph: Ian Grant]